Cell Mechanics : Mechanical Properties and Membrane Rupture Criteria

Abstract : Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the arteries that is a major cause of heart attacks and strokes. This thesis aims to provide novel insight into this disease by looking at specific factors involved in its development from a mechanical standpoint.Two important cell types involved in the development and progression of atherosclerosis are adherent endothelial cells and non-adherent leukocytes (white blood cells). We developed two devices that are able to measure the mechanical properties of both of these cell types. The first one, termed “profile microindentation”, uses micropipettes and microindenters to indent the cell, while the second one uses microfluidics to submit cells to an extensional stress.Further, we wondered if mechanics could help us understand when deformations undergone by cells, or stresses exerted on them, could become harmful.As a matter of fact, when atherosclerotic plaques occlude too much of the blood flow, the most common treatment consists of reopening the vessel with a balloon and keeping it open with a tubular wired mesh called a stent. This procedure exerts considerable compressive stress on the endothelium and is known to be associated with extensive endothelial damage. Hence, we seek to find a physical criterion that is predictive of endothelial cell membrane rupture under compression and to compare this to the stress exerted on the endothelium during the stenting procedure, to see if endothelial damage could potentially be avoided.Similarly, we seek to obtain a physical criterion that is predictive of leukocyte membrane rupture. We then compare and contrast the maximum possible deformations of leukocytes depending on whether those deformations are passive (such as when going through the microvasculature) or active (such as when leukocytes traverse the endothelial barrier).
Keywords : Mechanics Cell
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Lionel Guillou. Cell Mechanics : Mechanical Properties and Membrane Rupture Criteria. Biomechanics [physics.med-ph]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016SACLX041⟩. ⟨tel-01481900⟩

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